Editorial: Offshore no more

July 10th, 2009

Financial Times

Editorial: Switzerland may have seen off Habsburg armies, but the American taxman might prove a greater threat to its sovereignty. US officials, filing a civil suit in a court in Florida, are seeking to force UBS, the Swiss bank, to reveal the names of American clients whose tax papers have not been properly filed. The Swiss government has made it clear that UBS would not be able to comply without breaching the Alpine country’s bank secrecy laws.

The US authorities and court would be perfectly within their rights to rule that they should be given the names of suspected tax evaders; public officials and judges are obliged to enforce the laws of their countries. But that applies equally in Switzerland, and it has laws that insist upon a code of strict secrecy among its bankers.

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